Combatting Back Pain: The Hidden Risk of Desk Jobs

Combatting Back Pain

Combatting Back Pain: The Hidden Risk of Desk Jobs

The advent of the pandemic has sparked a renewed emphasis on health and fitness. Yet, despite our best efforts, the realities of modern life often conspire against us. A significant number of people are tethered to desk jobs that entail sitting for extended periods, a practice that can lead to back pain. So, how can we mitigate these aches while maintaining our desk-bound occupations? And more importantly, what exactly causes back pain?

Backaches can stem from a variety of factors, manifesting as anything from a mild, dull ache to severe, sharp pains. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, backaches can be classified into two categories – acute and chronic. Acute back pain is short-lived, typically lasting a few days to weeks, and generally resolves with basic self-care and exercise. Chronic back pain, however, persists for 12 weeks or more, even in the absence of an identifiable cause or injury. Alarmingly, research indicates that sitting may contribute to lower back pain, an issue that afflicts 80% of adults at some point in their lives.

Sitting for extended periods is a known culprit for backaches, but there are several other potential causes. Poor posture, for instance, can place undue stress on your shoulders, neck, and back. Slouching or slumping while working can stretch your spine’s ligaments, leading to back pain. The height of your desk and computer monitor can also impact your back health. If the monitor is set too low or high, it can encourage slouching or slumping. Moreover, sitting compresses the spine more than standing does, reducing circulation in your sponge and straining it. Consequently, prolonged sitting can lead to lower back pain due to the sustained seated position.

Other potential causes of lower back pain include sciatica – a condition caused by compression or irritation in the sciatic nerve in the lower back – and spondylolisthesis, which involves the vertebrae fusing together and can result in a hunched posture. In some cases, a bulging disc in the spine pressing on a spinal nerve can also cause back pain. These conditions can often be managed with physical therapy or medication.

So, how can we alleviate lower back pain? The first line of defense, as recommended by medical professionals, is maintaining an active lifestyle. Regular exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk or an intense gym session, can help alleviate body aches and ailments. However, moderation is key; overdoing it can be counterproductive.

One potential solution to combat the ill-effects of prolonged sitting is the use of a standing desk. The best sit stand desks encourage users to alternate between sitting and standing positions, promoting movement and reducing the strain on the back. According to a study titled “Call Center Productivity Over 6 Months Following a Standing Desk Intervention,” incorporating standing desks into the workplace boosted productivity among call center workers. Another study, “Sit-stand workstations and impact on low back discomfort: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” further confirmed that these desks help alleviate lower back pain.

Another potential remedy for lower back pain is heat and ice therapy. While ice can reduce inflammation and swelling following an injury, it can also decrease circulation over time. Heat therapy, on the other hand, boosts circulation and may improve movement. A study by the National Library of Medicine found heat therapy to be particularly beneficial for lower back pain.

If all else fails, over-the-counter pain relievers may provide temporary relief from inflammation and discomfort. However, these should not be viewed as a long-term solution.

In conclusion, while desk jobs and prolonged sitting can lead to back pain, there are several strategies available to mitigate these effects. From maintaining an active lifestyle to choosing an electric height adjustable standing desk, every small step towards better posture and movement can make a significant difference. While back pain can be a persistent issue, remember, it’s not an inevitable part of desk-bound life.

author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

Google Reviews


Google Reviews

Josh Oliver 04/02/24

I've had an ergomotion desk for 10 years. It's still as good today as it was brand new. Over the years Guy has always responded promptly to any guidance I've needed (mostly help putting the desk back together after removalists take it apart).

Michael Cheung 18/01/24

Great service from Guy and the team at Ergomotion! Helped with all my queries and was able to source a standing desk part for me when many others weren't able! Highly recommend!

Shao Lei 30/11/23

Decent desk and awesome service. Highly recommend

Rod Hathway 10/11/23

Awesome experience. Great value, super customer experience, ordered, assembled and picked up in 24 hours!

Dom K 06/11/23

Skip the big name brands and buy from Guy instead, 10/10 linak parts with a very well built tabletop.

Chris Wu 06/11/23

I purchased the edesk from Guy at Ergomotion. Guy was a pleasure to deal with and the desk arrived the next day. Guy was highly knowledgeable on the desk and provided very prompt support on the installation. I can highly recommend Ergomotion.

Albert Altit 29/09/23

Excellent quality and superb Customer service. Guy walked us through the options and benefits of each and enabled us to easily decide on which option we wanted.

Installation was a breeze - Guy did a fantastic job !!

Long Hei Tai 15/09/23

Guy is very helpful on my inquiry. The desk is very good in quality and I love it very much.

Thai Nguyen 03/09/23

This is the second desk I have ordered to cater for my growing business. I find the quality of the products excellent and definitely an investment for the future. Great and efficient service and very helpful from the ordering process to the delivery process also. Thank so much to Guy who did a great job with following up and providing updates every step of the way.

GT 01/09/23

Brilliant product, realisable and fast delivery. Thanks guy and the team.